The 2015 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties at Walt Disney World will occur in September and October. This post covers our tips and tricks for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, which is scheduled for the following dates: September 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27 and October 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31, as well as November 1. You can now purchase tickets (ranging from $57-77 per person) on Walt Disney World’s event page.
On these nights, the Magic Kingdom closes at 7 p.m. to guests who haven’t not purchased tickets for the Halloween Party. So you can prepare for the Halloween Party now, here is our analysis based upon the last several years (we go to it yearly) to help you determine whether this expensive hard ticket event is worth it to you, and if so, what your “Plan of Attack” should be to efficiently conquer the various offerings. Between this party and Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, plus improving weather, the fall months at Walt Disney World are one of our favorite times of year to visit!
Note that this guide covers Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, not Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland. For info about the latter, read our comprehensive Guide to Halloween Time at Disneyland!
So at over $60 a pop for tickets to the 2015 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, you might be trying to determine, “is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party worth it?” Our opinion, as Disney-biased tourists, is that it most definitely is worth the price at least once. Once you’ve experienced the party once (it doesn’t change much year-to-year), you might determine that it’s simply too expensive to experience again. For a one time event, it’s definitely worth it if your budget allows. While we prefer Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, we do attend both every year.
There’s a lot of special entertainment including one of Disney’s best parades and a great fireworks show, a great ambiance to the party including special decorations and lighting, lots of unique character meet & greets, and even seeing other guests in Halloween costumes makes for a fun experience.
If you do decide to do the Halloween Party, make sure to buy your tickets in advance, and use any available discounts (Disney Vacation Club member, Annual Passholder, etc.). Tickets are more expensive on the day of the party, and several nights each year sell out completely. It would stink to wait until the last minute and have your dates sell out!
If you’re a potentially returning guest to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, here’s what was new last year, and what’s anticipated for this year. Last year’s big new thing was a hard ticket event within the hard ticket event called Villains’ Sinister Soiree (we still wish they went with “Mickey’s Halloween Inception”). It’s essentially a dessert party in Cinderella’s Royal Table with reserved seating for the Boo to You Parade and HalloWishes fireworks. This costs $99 per person on top of the ~$60 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party ticket. So, if you’ve been thinking that the Halloween party is just too darn cheap, this option is for you!
Seriously though, we have absolutely no intention of doing this party. The reserved viewing area is not a good spot for viewing the fireworks, as it’s too close to Cinderella Castle (for the best spots, check out our Magic Kingdom Fireworks Viewing Locations Guide), and there are just too many other great things to do at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (it’s unlikely you can do all of the regular entertainment in a single night) to justify attending a dessert party, especially at the $99 price point. In fact, we wouldn’t do this dessert party even if it were “only” $25 per person. It’s just not worth taking the time from the regular awesome entertainment of the Halloween party to do this. Plus, the idea of another upcharge event within an upcharge event just makes us cringe.
Fortunately, the other “significant” new thing (besides some minor changes to the Boo To You Parade and a couple of different meet & greet characters) is the Club Villain dance party in Frontierland, and it offers guests the opportunity to ‘mingle’ with some villains without paying the upcharge price. Beyond that, it looks to be mostly the same entertainment as last year.
As for what you should do during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, here’s our guide to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!
The first important tip is to pick the best day on your trip for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Although Disney sells a “limited” number of tickets to the party, limited is mainly a marketing term. Some of the parties are as crowded as you might find the parks during an ordinary day. As a general rule, the closer you get to Halloween, the busier the parties become. School nights are less busy, with Tuesday night parties being the best options in our experience. Disney prices these parties based on historical demand, so going on the cheapest party night you can is generally the best idea from both the perspective of saving money and avoiding crowds. Win-win!
The second most important tip is to arrive early to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. The Party officially starts at 7 p.m., which is when all of the entertainment actually begins, but guests can enter with their Halloween Party tickets as early as 4 p.m. This is not something Walt Disney World advertises, but it absolutely is true, and you will see plenty of other guests arriving at 4 p.m., and Cast Members in their Halloween outfits at the turnstiles.
This earlier entry offers you potential savings to offset the cost of your tickets. Before we were Annual Passholders, we’d plan on doing Downtown Disney or a water park the morning we went to the Halloween Party, which allowed us to purchase 1-day less on our park tickets. We highly recommend that you do the same! In other words, if you normally would buy a 5-day ticket for your trip, buy a 4-day ticket and do something besides one of the 4 theme parks before 4 p.m.
The additional day you’re not purchasing would have only added on $10-30 in cost to your total package, so we’re not talking a substantial amount here, but it makes the Halloween Party more economical. To save even more money on multi-day Walt Disney World tickets, we highly recommend buying from an authorized ticket broker selling cheaper tickets than you can buy directly from Disney. Read our Tips for Buying Discount Walt Disney World Tickets Guide for more information about saving money on park tickets. You can’t buy Halloween Party tickets from these authorized ticket sellers, but the amount you save on your regular park tickets plus the savings on that extra day you’re not purchasing will help offset the added cost of the party tickets.
Early in the Halloween Party is also a great time to get photos, since the artificial lighting in the Magic Kingdom during the Halloween Party can be pretty harsh once in gets dark out.
The next biggest tip is to wear a costume! At least half of the Guests who attend the party wear costumes, and it’s a lot more fun if you do. You’re spending a fair chunk of change to attend one of these parties, make sure you get as much value for your money as possible by wearing a costume. You don’t need to buy some expensive costume from the store–make one at home from items you buy at a thrift shop. Sarah and I attended Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party as the following: astronauts; an elf and princess; and “Cute Minnie” and a Toy Story Alien, among other things. Most of the time, our costumes are pretty lame as compared to other guests, but we still have a lot of fun!
For costumes, go inexpensive, simple, and most importantly…LIGHTWEIGHT. We have worn heavier costumes, and let me tell you what a mistake that was. It may be cooler at nighttime in the fall, but it’s still Florida, and it’s still humid and hot. While you will see a lot of guests in complex and really creative costumes, unless you have a specific costume in mind that you really want to make, simpler and lighter is better as far as costumes go.
Sarah’s popular “Cute Minnie” costume pictured below was inexpensive (here’s more info about what she’s wearing), and we try to go with inexpensive costumes as the Halloween Party already costs a lot, no sense in making it cost even more! Thrift shops are great places to find the makings of inexpensive costumes. If you do decide to go the other direction and get a nice costume, there are numerous online stores specializing in unique costumes. eBay is also a great place to hunt down what you need for a more involved costume.
If at all possible, find a way to avoid trick or treating or save it until the end of the night. It is a major time drain, and you could buy a bag of candy yourself for like $3. It may be difficult to convince kids not to trick or treat, but if you can, find a way. There is so much entertainment during the Halloween Party that you won’t get everything done even if you don’t trick or treat and don’t do any attractions.
Arrive at 4 p.m., eat and do an attraction or two before 6:00 pm. Once 6 pm hits, it’s time to get ready to party, and time to initiate your Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party attack-plan to do and see as much as you can…
Please note that we have refined this strategy guide based on our anecdotal experiences of attending the party every year before for the past several years, but it has yet to be updated with specifics about the 2015 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (as those haven’t started yet, so we haven’t been to one), but we will update further once more info is available about this year’s party and we have a chance to go to one. This hasn’t been extensively tested or anything of the sort. Just some “real world” tips from frequent visitors to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
Also, this guide does not include every character at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Notably absent are Anna and Elsa (sorry, Frozen fans) among others. Anna and Elsa can be met during the day, so spending over an hour of pricey Halloween party time waiting in line for the Frozen sisters isn’t exactly a good use of time. The same goes for all of the princesses, actually. Their meet & greets are better during the day due to lighting, anyway.
Line Up For First Characters No Later Than 6:30 pm – The party officially starts at 7 pm, and invariably, lines start forming before the party starts. The Seven Dwarfs meet near the New Fantasyland entrance, just outside the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (which opened earlier this year) in New Fantasyland during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Their line is going to be long for the entire party. We have found it to be already an hour long by 6:45 pm. Snow White appears separately from the Dwarfs now.
Jack Skellington and Sally (from the Nightmare Before Christmas) will be meeting in Town Square. These characters have been the most ‘in demand’ characters who haven’t appeared at past parties (as in more guests have requested them at the Halloween Party more than any other characters), and this would make sense given the lines we’ve seen for them at Disneyland outside Haunted Mansion Holiday (that’s where the photo below is from, if you’re wondering). It seems that Nightmare Before Christmas has gained a substantial cult following over the years, and that following coupled with their location at the front of the park leads to them being really popular characters at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Along with the Seven Dwarfs, they are the most popular characters of the party.
Unless you want to burn hours of the party, you probably are going to have to choose between Nightmare Before Christmas Characters or the Seven Dwarfs. Get in line for one of these meet & greets no later than 6:30 pm (maybe even as early as 6 pm!) so that you use as little actual party time as possible on the most popular meet & greets of the night. That is, unless the prospect of waiting in an hour plus long line during the height of the party doesn’t scared you.
If you can’t decide between these choices, we’d recommend the Dwarfs. Not only are they a ‘bigger’ meet & greet, but their location also makes it easy to jump to other popular/semi-popular meet & greets afterward. Plus, while in line for the Seven Dwarfs, you may see other characters roaming the area. We have been able to meet Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum while waiting in line for the Dwarfs.
The Witch – Villains are en vogue right now, and Disney has responded by expanding the dedicated villains meet & greets at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. The only one we recommend focusing on is The Witch, as the rest (Gaston, Jafar, Tremaines, etc.) can all be found during daytime hours. The big problem is that The Witch may already have a prohibitively long line by this point, in which case you should wait until after 11 pm to meet here. She will be back in New Fantasyland, making it easy to check her line after meeting the Dwarfs.
Pooh Characters – If you start with the Dwarfs and skip The Witch, it’s easy to then bounce over to the Pooh line by the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in Fantasyland. This is one of the most popular meet & greets at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. All four might meet together, or they might do a rotation of Eeyore & Pooh and Tigger & Piglet. We recommend this meet & greet as it’s a unique one–you won’t see these characters in costume any other time. If you do The Witch, you’ll probably be saving this step and Alice and Wonderland (below) for later.
Alice in Wonderland Characters – This meet & greet is nearby (at the Mad Tea Party), making it a quick one to knock out. Alice in Wonderland, Mad Hatter, White Rabbit, and Queen of Hearts are all in this spot, possibly on a rotation. These characters are a lot of fun and usually have a short line making them a quick option, but note that they are often here during daytime hours, so if your time is extremely limited, you might consider skipping them…
Boo To You Parade – By now, it’s probably about time for getting a Boo To You Parade spot. There are two showings of this parade, and the second is always far less crowded. Get spots at least 30 minutes early for the first parade (earlier if it’s a busy night). If you do elect to just go with the second parade, you may end up kicking yourself, because this is one of the best parades Disney does. We always watch the early parade AND the late parade.
You obviously can’t do this if you skip the early parade, so plan wisely. If you’re really into meeting characters, it’s difficult to meet all of the characters, watch the fireworks, do Villians Mix & Mingle, AND watch both parades. If character meet and greets aren’t that important to you, we recommend watching the early parade so you at least have the ability to watch it again if you really enjoy it.
Given the excellent lighting and ambiance on Main Street, we consider this the best place to view the parade (which steps off in Frontierland). It’s also the most crowded spot. The Headless Horseman comes first, followed by the rest of the Parade much later (especially to Main Street).
Following the horse, the parade takes a long time to come–almost twenty minutes later. The Boo To You Parade is awesome. The performers in this parade are amazing: the caretaker “shovel band,” the Haunted Mansion dancers, the Headless Horseman, the Haunted Mansion caretaker—I’m probably forgetting someone—all were excellent. They absolutely made the parade. I now think the key to any successful parade is: headless people, scrapping shovels on the ground, proclamations of it being “good to be bad,” chickens ‘bawking’ to the beat, and the Country Bears rocking out. Any parade organizers out there reading this, you can thank me later for my solid advice.
More information about, and photos of, the Boo To You Parade can be found on our Boo To You Parade page.
HalloWishes – HalloWishes is the fireworks spectacular shown only during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties (click here for photos of the fireworks). It runs only once per night, and is not to be missed. If you view the first Boo to You parade from Main Street, about the time it’s over, it would be a good time for you to pick a viewing location for HalloWishes.
This show does have perimeter bursts, and Castle projections, so a location on Main Street USA or near Casey’s and the Ice Cream parlor are good options. Don’t get too close to the Castle, or you won’t be able to see all of the bursts!
While the Boo to You parade exceeds the Christmas parade, HalloWishes does not trump Holiday Wishes! Not even close. Maybe from a pure pyrotechnics perspective, but the show elements of Holiday Wishes are far superior. Can’t beat that “Oh Christmas Tree” portion, the wonderful score in general, and the neat juxtaposition of the bursts with various dialogue, sound effects, and the score.
Catch Villians Mix & Mingle After HalloWishes – There is a showing of this right after HalloWishes on the Castle forecourt stage. By hitting Boo to You-HalloWishes-Villians Mix & Mingle like this, you don’t run all over the park wasting time. Villians Mix & Mingle is a fun show that is well worth doing. Unfortunately, the villains no longer do meet & greets after the show (which is fine by us since this was so chaotic), so you’ll want to find them throughout the park instead.
Check Back with Fantasyland Characters – If you missed the Pooh or Alice and Wonderland characters earlier, return to the line now. It should be after 10 pm, and by this time, these lines should be starting to wane. If it doesn’t look shorter, instead head to Adventureland and Frontierland and return here later.
Donald & Daisy and Minnie – Meeting back by New Fantasyland’s Storybook Circus, Donald & Daisy, and Minnie Mouse wear special Halloween costumes for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. That, plus their relatively short waits later in the evening make them an absolute must-do.
Characters at Dance Parties – This tip used to include free-roaming characters (such as the Country Bears), but we didn’t see them last year, and we haven’t heard of them being out this year. If you do see free-roaming characters, go interact with them! They typically don’t get very long waits no matter when you go and they are, and can be tons of fun. Plus, the free-roaming characters and dance party at this point allow you to “wait out” the lines for Mickey & Minnie, do that. As for dance parties, there’s the Monstrous Scream-O-Ween Ball dance party on the Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland; expect to be able to dance (and scream) with Monsters, Inc. characters there. In Frontierland, the new Club Villains will be a good location to see the ever-popular villains. Expect this location to be busy as villains-fever is strong.
Now is also a good time for the characters over in Adventureland. You should have plenty of time to play around with King Louie and Tarzan over here, as there shouldn’t be any lines–this makes for great interactions.
On our recent visit, whomever was friends with King Louie that evening had some rhythm. I’ve never seen a primate moonwalk quite like that. I guess those big ape-feet are good for something! Tarzan and Terk are just as much fun and should have just as short of a wait. In our experiences, Tarzan is “unintentionally” hilarious. He’s a lot of fun, so definitely take the time to interact with him, and not just pose with him for photos. If you need ideas for interacting, read our Disney Character Meet & Greet Tips.
If meeting with characters and having some fun are more important than just getting cool pictures of them, then these locations in Adventureland and Frontierland are the hidden gems of the parties. At both Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, we’ve had a blast having extended interactions with the characters. This is the case because later in the evening, these characters typically have shorter lines. You won’t get that kind of interaction from the “big” characters who have huge lines!
Jack Sparrow – Captain Jack Sparrow isn’t lumped in with the above because he’s not “less popular.” He usually meets outside Pirates of the Caribbean, and his waits can be fairly long. At this point in the night, they shouldn’t be too bad, though. Since you’re in the area, check his line. If the wait is long, check back after the second Boo To You Parade.
Second Boo To You Parade – If you’ve already seen the first parade from Main Street, watch the second parade from wherever. If you find yourself with free time 15 minutes before the parade steps off, head to Frontierland. Main Street is our favorite place for viewing the parade, but unless you didn’t get all of the photos you wanted during the first parade, you definitely don’t want to head to Main Street and wait for it to come all the way to you again.
Main Street Theater Mickey Mouse Meet & Greet – After 11 pm is the best time to visit Mickey Mouse. I’m not sure when his line gets cut, but it’s not early. If you can’t do this at the very end of the party, do it as early or as late as possible, but not immediately after a parade. Your mileage may vary on this one, but we still recommend going towards the end of the Halloween Party.
Princess Fairytale Hall – Again, we want to reiterate that we think you should skip the Anna and Elsa meet & greet during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, but if you must do it, do it late. We’re not sure when this line will be cut, but we expect it to see long lines throughout the party, especially as 75% of children go to the party dressed as Frozen characters and want photos with the characters in-costume. Our tip: to avoid this problem, dress your kids in Frozen costumes on a normal day visit to the Magic Kingdom and meet Anna and Elsa then, and do different costumes during the Halloween party. You really can’t go wrong with a Big Bad Wolf costume!
In addition to things that we think are best accomplished on a set schedule, there are other offerings during the Halloween Party of which you might want to take advantage…
Haunted Mansion – We used to recommend skipping the Haunted Mansion during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party due to its inflated lines, but that’s no longer the case (partly because FastPass+ has inflated its lines more during the day). The big reasons for not skipping it are Madame Carlotta and Madame Rinata who sit on the lawn of the Haunted Mansion entertaining guests in line. Also, there is a special PhotoPass opportunity here with the Hitchhiking Ghosts.
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Card – This is not something about which we care, but if you want the exclusive Halloween Party Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card, go as late as possible to the Fire Station. The line was pretty long for this throughout the entire night, but seemed to die down as the evening wore on. Another alternative would be to go while one person holds spots for the parade if you view it from Main Street.
Mayhem at the Mansion – This is an augmented reality game that guests will be (or was going to be?) able to play during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. It has yet to launch, and the app needed to play the game is no longer available from the App Stores. Guests will use the app to take photos of themselves and ghosts throughout the Magic Kingdom that they find via a map. Perhaps this will launch for the second party?
Merchandise – In addition to the normal Halloween merchandise available, there is special Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party merchandise that can only be purchased during the party. This year, that includes LE pins, LE MagicBands, shirts, and more.
Food – We advised eating before, not during, the party, but that applies to full meals. The only thing you might want to eat again once the party starts is some of the special Halloween snacks exclusive to the party. We were a bit let down by the Spiced Pumpkin Waffle Sundae last year, but this year’s Candy Corn Ice Cream looks promising.
While we also manage to spot an above-average number of “free roaming” characters during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, that number seems to be decreasing with each year. My biggest complaint, and this is entirely personal to me, is that the Country Bears are not out like they are for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Then again, I think the Country Bears should always be out. Those bears rock. I think they should actually make of subset of Frontierland and coin it “Bearland.”
Overall, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a great event that every guest should experience at least once if money allows. It’s especially great for character meetings, the Boo To You Parade, and the HalloWishes Fireworks.
There is enough on the schedule that you need to have a good strategy to accomplish everything, and there is plenty to do during the Halloween Party to keep you entertained–enough that you might want to forgo doing any attractions and finding another day in the Magic Kingdom for those. Realistically, the above plan is a little overly-ambitious unless you race from character to character. We have not met The Witch, but if the lines I saw for her at Villains Unleashed are any indication, trying to meet the Dwarfs and her is going to be a real challenge unless you’re willing to spend a lot of time in line. Same goes for some other characters mentioned, like Jack Sparrow. Just remember to use this as a rough guide, and if you encounter a line that is super long, go against our advice. Improvise on the fly! You wouldn’t drive your car into a lake at your GPS’s insistence, would you?!
When we do Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, we always leave plenty of things undone. Entertainment is consistent from year to year, with some minor things added each year, it seems, making it difficult to accomplish everything on the map. This is especially true if you have youngsters who may want to trick or treat, which does take some time.
We skip trick or treating entirely–if we liked candy, we could buy it at home far cheaper than the $50+ our tickets cost. It’s not just the unique parade, fireworks, and rare character meet and greets that make this party special. There is an excitement in the air (maybe it’s all that sugar) and the guest costumes really liven things up. On top of that, the Magic Kingdom gets decked out for the party, with cool decorations, an excellent lighting package, and even different background music. It’s these little details that make the party worth the money for us.
If these photos have whetted your appetite, visit our Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Photo Page!
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Have you attended Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party? Do you think it’s worth the money? What’s your own “can’t miss” thing to do during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party? Share your thoughts on these questions, or anything else, in the comments!